To some degree, everyone is a clutterer and even a hoarder. If there wasn’t such a stigma over the terminology, more people would admit to the truth.
Clutter is a confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble. Using that definition, I was led to look at my “junk drawers” in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Where else could I possibly keep those little thingees that don’t belong anywhere else? I organized those thingees into one collection in a drawer in each appropriate room.
For example, the desk junk drawer has extra pencils and pens, paper clips, staples, calculator, happy smile stickers and more. True, they are a jumble of things under the category of writing supplies. Where else do they belong? Okay, I could justify everything in my house using the reasoning of a place for everything, but really, those little thingees are together in a convenient junk drawer.
Clutter to me is the jumble of things I keep but rarely, if ever, use. Getting rid of clutter means throwing it away, recycling it, donating it, or selling it when the items usefulness no longer exists in my life.
When I was a teacher in the primary grades I kept lots of stuff for arts and crafts projects. Years of collecting buttons paid off when each student was able to create a picture as a Mother’s Day gift. It took me several years to be willing to get rid of all those odds and ends I collected for 18 years. I left teaching to be a stay at home Mom.
At first I kept everything under the guise of someday my children will use those craft items. The boxes in the dining room attracted dust and dirt which is an unhealthy way to live. And they were in the way of comfortably eating at the table. Some would call that my hoarding phase. A belief in having a healthy family first, pushed my conscious self into donating the supplies to a teacher friend.
Within a couple of weeks the anxiety calmed down over getting rid of years and years of tender loving care to accumulate that treasure of craft supplies. I emphasized the happy results of being able to eat comfortably in an open and spacious dining room. And the items were put to good use instead of being stored in boxes.
My husband was convinced that someday his old outdated college text books would come in handy. He was emotionally attached to inanimate objects. Just the mention of getting rid of obsolete items would create pronounced distress. His clutter became a room for his hoarding.
I still have small accumulations of clutter which outsiders would never see because the items are under control and hidden. Everyone has areas of putting stuff together to create a group home. Mom called one kitchen drawer, the junk drawer. If we couldn’t find a wanted item, even if it wasn’t kitchen related, we would search in that drawer first.
My weight has fluctuated greatly throughout my lifetime, causing me to keep clothes and shoes that I’ll be able to wear someday. About three years ago, I was writing about being grateful for all the things and people I have in my life. Thoughts about cluttering my closet with unused “just in case clothes” came to the fore. I convinced myself to donate wearables to battered women who didn’t have enough to wear.
The day I carried those trash bags out to the donation truck was a turning point in my life. The good I was doing for others turned out to be the good I was doing for myself so that I could think, learn, love and create in an atmosphere of clear and clean open spaces.
Decluttering is first of all a mental project. To get rid of stuff requires letting go of things not used in order to appreciate what we do have that enhances our life and health. Getting rid of stuff opens the path to stop making tired excuses for keeping the outdated and the unnecessary items from days gone by. My decision making improves when clutter isn’t taking up space in my thoughts.
The past is over and done. It cannot be changed. Move forward to create a successful today and tomorrow. Be the best you can be!